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Meiotic sex chromosome inactivation in male mice with targeted disruptions of Xist

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Elliott


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X chromosome inactivation occurs twice during the life cycle of placental mammals. In normal females, one X chromosome in each cell is inactivated early in embryogenesis, while in the male, the X chromosome is inactivated together with the Y chromosome in spermatogenic cells shortly before or during early meiotic prophase. Inactivation of one X chromosome in somatic cells of females serves to equalise X-linked gene dosage between males and females, but the role of male meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI) is unknown. The inactive X-chromosome of somatic cells and male meiotic cells share similar properties such as late replication and enrichment for histone macroH2A1.2, suggesting a common mechanism of inactivation. This possibility is supported by the fact that Xist RNA that mediates somatic X-inactivation is expressed in the testis of male mice and humans. In the present study we show that both Xist RNA and Tsix RNA, an antisense RNA that controls Xist function in the soma, are expressed in the testis in a germ-cell-dependent manner. However, our finding that MSCI and sex-body formation are unaltered in mice with targeted mutations of Xist that prevent somatic X inactivation suggests that somatic X-inactivation and MSCI occur by fundamentally different mechanisms.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Elliott DJ; Turner JMA; Mahadevaiah SK; Garchon H-J; Pehrson JR; Jaenisch R; Burgoyne PS

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Cell Science

Year: 2002

Volume: 115

Issue: 21

Pages: 4097-4105

ISSN (print): 0021-9533

ISSN (electronic): 1477-9137


DOI: 10.1242/jcs.00111

PubMed id: 12356914